One hundred and fifty years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Syrians rule Israel with a cruel and violent hand. King Antiochus of Damascus sends new governor Apollonius to Jerusalem to keep order among the restive Jews. Apollonius' first act trying to erect a statue of Jove in the holy temple instigates an angry rebellion led by warrior Judas Maccabeus. When Judas is killed in battle, his pacifist brother Simon is forced to take his place at the head of the Jewish insurgency. Against great odds, Simon confronts the barbarous tyranny of Apollonius and his Syrian masters.